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When times change, you adapt or die. 

If you’re a business owner or contact center manager, digital technology and a renewed focus on serving the shopper has resulted in an increased emphasis on customer experience, or CX.

According to data from Adobe Analytics, daily e-commerce sales have increased by 25% in the U.S. in just the first three weeks of March 2020. But all those sales may actually be a mixed blessing. Customer service centers are experiencing an unprecedented uptick in overall call volume.

With “longer-than-average hold times” the new watchword, businesses must find creative ways to meet customer demand.

The reasoning behind this is simple: The longer consumers wait to reach a customer support agent—and more than 50% of customers won’t do business with a company after a bad experience—the more likely they will leave you for one of your competitors.

So, how do you deliver the service your customers expect—if you have to rely on customer-service agents working from home?

In this post, I share solutions that are helping retailers navigate the current economic uncertainty.

Adapting to a changing marketplace: why retailers must prepare  

With more and more people turning to online shopping, the question is: How will retailers handle the corresponding rise in the number of customers needing support?

In a world that is increasingly on-demand and real-time, taking care of customers is paramount.  

Of course, when customers call for help, you want to deliver a great customer experience. However, as many agents are forced to work from home, organizations are left looking for the best ways to continue supporting their customers using remote agents.

What does it take to deliver a top-notch CX? 

The only way to succeed in the face of uncertainty is to face challenges head-on.

This is not the time to be uncertain about your next move.

Yet that’s exactly what many retailers have done in the face of the current situation. Netflix and Roku are just two examples of brands who’ve scaled back customer-service. 

When customer requests are up across the board and agents are getting a crush of support calls, customer service is not just a business process, it’s one of the most important elements of your business.

However, don’t simply stand back and copy your competitors’ strategies. The mark of a thriving business is that it is constantly evolving.

Now is the time to adapt quickly to meet customer demand and safeguard customers’ trust, especially for companies in the sectors that have been among the hardest-hit. Naturally, we have a few tips for you.

4 ways you can create better customer experiences 

If you’re using at-home agents for customer service during these unprecedented times, here are four ways you can deliver a great retail experience:

  1. Enhance shopper engagement: Today’s consumers have more choices than ever so it’s important to engage shoppers during their shopping journey. You can leverage technology to connect with customers via their channel of choice whether that’s chat, SMS, messaging, email, voice, or video. There is an opportunity to improve every interaction that shoppers have with your company.
  2. Empower your customer service staff: It’s no secret that customer service reps are typically the first line of communication for frustrated customers. That’s why you should give virtual call center staff everything they need—from the latest information about merchandise and inventory to policies for returns and exchanges—to help customers feel happy and satisfied.
  3. Facilitate effortless experiences: Did you know that research shows reducing the amount of effort customers expend—the work they must do to get their problem solved—builds loyalty? The same study found reducing customers’ effort also lowers customer service costs and decreases customer churn. When your customer service agents can oversee merchandise delivery, exchanges, repairs, and returns and provide shoppers with real-time notifications through their channel of choice, then you’ll be offering what consumers are craving.
  4. Expand self-service options: Today’s consumer wants everything on-demand, customized, and fast. But, increasingly they also want simple self-service options. This could take many forms, from an online help center or online chat support to using chat, messaging, and conversation bots. Something your at-home customer service agents and your customers may find valuable is a knowledge base with relevant, easy-to-understand answers to commonly asked questions. 

This is how RingCentral can help 

In recent months, a lot has changed. RingCentral wants to help your organization continue its customer engagement activities during difficult times by making it easier for your work-at-home agents to serve your customers until those agents can return to the office or contact center facility.

There are a few ways we can help, depending on what you need. For example, RingCentral contact center can help support your efforts with:

  • Inbound call routing—When a customer calls in, their call is directed to the appropriate agent (Spanish-speaking agents; the customer has a specific question about their item or how to set up their item, etc.), which saves time and helps avoid frustrated customers. 
  • Collaborative contact center—This feature connects contact center agents with the entire organization. Too often agents are siloed away from the rest of the company (especially now with everyone working from home). With a collaborative contact center, agents can reach out to subject matter experts throughout the organization to better serve customers.
  • Digital platform—With our technology, your customers can reach out on the channel of their choice. Plus, associates, agents, and fulfillment personnel are connected and can coordinate merchandise delivery, exchanges, repairs, and returns. That means increased shopper satisfaction.

Stay up and running with RingCentral

Today, technology allows people to work from anywhere…on any device. But delivering a frictionless shopping experience is not an easy task. It takes the right tools, the right customer service reps, and the right approach (check out these tips and insights on servicing your customers with at-home agents). If you want to learn more about how to keep your customer service up and running at all times with work from home agents powered by RingCentral, check out our Covid19 Offer – Customer Engagement Platform. For a limited time, we’re offering an inbound voice cloud contact center or a digital customer engagement service with FREE seat licenses for 90 days.

Originally published Jun 08, 2020, updated Jul 24, 2024

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